Orlando, Fla.-based Ben Hewitt, creator of the Corkcicle, and partners
Stephen Bruner and Eric Miller. Corkcicle was designed to ensure
"perfectly chilled wine every time," keeping white wines cool and
bringing reds down to the ideal sipping temperature.
"Aha" moment: Corkcicle emerged from Hewitt's love of white wine (particularly chardonnay) and search for an effective, convenient cooling method rather than an ice bucket. "I never understood why people couldn't figure out a way to chill the bottle from the inside," he says.
Garage days: After selling his HR outsourcing firm in 2010, Hewitt set up shop in his garage. He cut open a gel pack purchased at a grocery store, poured the contents into a plastic test tube, glued a rubber cork to the top and popped it in the freezer. "It worked very well, and it was fun to test," he says. He showed his creation to Bruner, a former colleague, who suggested that Hewitt alter the product to resemble an icicle. Hewitt followed the advice and enlisted an engineer to reimagine the design and coordinate manufacturing in China. He added Miller to the team as a sales expert.
Cold, hard cash: Hewitt and his partners invested an undisclosed amount of personal funds in the business, along with seed capital from an investor friend, and opened a line of credit. "We're very seasonal, so we might borrow on that line up until November, and then it will go back to zero," Hewitt says.
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